Central Michigan University Unveils MakerBot Innovation Center, First in Midwest

“You can visualize, take something from a computer screen and put it into reality,” said Janet Hethorn, the dean of Central Michigan University’s College of Communication and Fine Arts.

3-D printing is the future of technology — and now Central Michigan university is offering it to their students.     

This is their new Makerbot Innovation Center.

The lab is the first of its kind at a university in the Midwest.

“They get to learn, create and take something away,” said Dean of the College of Education and Human Services Dale Perhsson. “There’s not something quite as magnificent as designing something and walking away with something in your hands that’s not just paper and pencil.”

The new lab has about 30 3-D printers, and cost around 300,000 dollars.

The College of Education and Human Services and College of Communication and Fine Arts collaborated to make it happen.

Fashion Merchandise and Design student Alexis Quinney used 3-D printing to create a necklace.

“I’m really excited about it. It’s something a few people told me they would actually wear, might actually buy. So it came together quite nicely,” Quinney said.

These printers can make all sorts of things. Anything from jewelry to medical models and even small toys.

“When I graduate, I graduate in May, I’m looking to open my own retail shop. I wanted to just do clothing, but since I’ve taken this class I can see the possibility of making jewelry or gadgets someone might need or cups, or something to differentiate myself from all the other retail shops online.”        

“We’re hoping it won’t only be used on campus but spread in the community too,” Department of Art and Design Chair Larry Burditt said. “People who are homeschooling to be able to bring in their kids and have an experience with the 3D printers too.”